Philippe Snel has been practicing as foreign lawyer in China the past 20 years. An entrepreneur at hearth, he independently started his practice in Shanghai as early as from 2001 and has been working and living permanently in China since 2004. He has not only been a privileged witness of the staggering development the country has undergone over the past two decades, he has moreover played an active role in the process, as he has assisted and advised hundreds of foreign investors – companies, entrepreneurs and managers alike – to establish and develop their businesses in China. His outstanding contributions, in particular to the development of the city of Shanghai, have been recognized by the Municipal Government as he was bestowed with the Silver Magnolia Award, one of the highest honors attributed to foreign nationals in Shanghai.
Philippe earned his law degree at Leuven University in 1995 and joined the Brussels Bar as from 1997. His main practice centers on commercial and corporate law but he is also often involved in the firm’s IP work as well as the Compliance practice. His working languages are Dutch, French and English and he is conversational in Mandarin and German.
As one of the most senior foreign lawyers in China, Philippe assists mostly foreign-invested businesses to navigate the intricate waters of law and regulations in China. He is a trusted source of advice to managers of large multinational companies as well as SME’s and entrepreneurs. Throughout the years he has contributed to projects spanning from multimillion USD investments in industrial acquisitions or in real estate projects, to complex technology start-up joint venture projects.
His opinions on all matters related to China’s business related policies and future development are regularly solicited and he is regularly invited to speak on the same subject in China and overseas. Philippe is also a trusted advisor to several foreign consulates and institutions in China on complex business matters or incidents.
Since 2015 Philippe has been teaching Intellectual Property & Technology Transfer at the Shanghai Normal University (Finance & Business School). His interest in technology transfer has also brought him to co-found together with a group of European and Chinese entrepreneurs and with support of the Belgian Sovereign Wealth Fund (FPIM-SFPI) and of several major European and Chinese companies a business venture called SINNOLABS which serves an accelerator for European technology companies aiming to establish or develop their businesses in China.
In addition to his professional activities Philippe is also an acclaimed leader in the foreign community in Shanghai as he has been actively involved in various associations and institutions. He was elected Chairman of the Benelux Chamber of Commerce from 2010 to 2014 and since 2016 serves as Chairman of the Board of the Shanghai French School (Lycée Français de Shanghai) a volunteer position overseeing the entire management and operations of the largest international schools in Shanghai (2 campuses – 1.600 students – +300 employees). In 2020, by decree of the President of the French Republic, Philippe was bestowed with the title of Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite for his service to the French and international community.